A test post for ds106


Posted by on August 21st, 2012 No Comments

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Posted by on March 15th, 2012 Enter your password to view comments.

Guess we need to build a dog house in the office

Way back in the olden days of 2004: I was first getting my blogging legs under me. I had returned to UMW as an instructional technology specialist under the inspired leadership of Gardner Campbell. I began to find and connect with other people at other institutions who were doing amazing stuff. And I started to admire them and learn from them.

Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across this guy who blogged a lot and whose alter ego was a dog. He was REALLY smart and talented, and I started to read his blog regularly. At DTLT staff meetings, his name would come up, spoken in tones of admiration.

He was kind of a big deal. In fact, I remember the first time I left a comment on Alan Levine’s blog. (it took me 2 years!!) I felt like I was leaving a comment on a celebrity’s site!

I’ve gotten to know Alan a bit better since then, and I’m pretty sure he’d laugh at my calling him a celebrity. But, truly, within the field we work in, he’s someone whom I admire tremendously.

So, how exciting is it for me and all of us in DTLT that Alan CogDog Levine has come to UMW as an instructional technology specialist?

Looking around the room (which inclues my other amazing colleagues), I feel like we could do just about anything!

Posted by on March 14th, 2012 Comments Off on Guess we need to build a dog house in the office

Undergraduate Research on the Open Web

For the last two years, I’ve been working with professor Denis Nissim-Sabat in the department of psychology here at UMW. He teaches a course every fall on the history of psychology, and in 2010 we started working on a project to transform the final projects students were doing in the class to digital presentations. Previously, students had worked in groups on particular historical topics of their choosing. At the end of the semester, they would present their work in a collaborative PowerPoint, with each student covering a particular aspect of the topic.

When Denis and I started working together, he decided he’d like them to develop an online site for their topics, with a particular emphasis on exploring how to build a Web-based information resource that integrates new media. (Big hat tip to Jeff McClurken who’s history of technology class projects inspired the approach, to a large degree).

My role in this course has been to introduce the students to UMW Blogs as well as give them advice about finding and using various kinds of media and tools in their sites. I also offer each group up to one hour of “consulting” time with me, in which they come in and work through specific questions and ideas.

Denis, of course, is the one who really lays the groundwork for how to construct a historical research project. And he pushes them to be both rigorous and creative in the development of their ideas and presentations. Over the last two years, we’ve had about 20 projects developed.  Overall, I think we both felt that it was successful, and we’ve also learnt something each time about how to improve it the next time around.

But I wasn’t prepared at all for the email he forwarded to me from the chair of the psychology department earlier this week. It seems she uses a textbook, Serial Murderers and their Victims, that is currently being revised by its author, Eric Hickey.  Apparently, Hickey (while researching the new edition) came across a Google map created by one of Denis’ fall 2010 student groups. The group was researching the History of Forensic Psychology, and they compiled a map showing the location of significant events in the history of forensic psych. Hickey wants to include the map in the next edition. How cool is it that this group of students could end up with their work published in a textbook — all because they not only were involved in an undergraduate research project but because they were required to share that work publicly and openly on the Web.

View History of Forensic Psychology in America in a larger map

Posted by on March 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on Undergraduate Research on the Open Web


testing footnotes [1. will this work?]

Posted by on March 1st, 2012 No Comments

Testing NCLP

one two three go

Posted by on February 24th, 2012 No Comments

TEsting NCLP

One, two, three, go.

Posted by on February 24th, 2012 No Comments


This morning, as I was waiting in the car rider line at my daughter’s school to drop her off, I heard this on the radio:

“Rumors abound that gas prices are about to spike. They could go as high as $5.00/gallon at 8:42.”

Shit. I looked at the clock in my car. It was 8:31. Could I make it to the station by 8:42? I really didn’t want to pay $5/gallon for gas this weekend.

Right after dropping her off, I sped off to the station and arrived there just in time: 8:40.

As I was pumping gas, I thought, “It’s really weird that gas prices are going to spike at exactly 8:42 this morning. Really weird.”

Really weird.


At that moment I realized THIS was what I’d heard on the radio:

“Rumors abound that gas prices are about to spike. They could go as high as $5.00/gallon. [Story] at 8:42.”

Yeah. It’s been that kind of morning.

Posted by on February 23rd, 2012 Comments Off on Huh.

A Rambling Post about Birthdays, Thursdays, and Music

I can smell this picture. It smells good. (Some rights reserved by ~K~ on Flickr)

Yesterday’s Daily Create:

Using your voice as the only instrument, create a recording of a verse and/or chorus from your favorite song.

At some point yesterday afternoon, Tim bowed out for a few minutes and came back and shared his version of this assignment. (Go listen to that NOW!) I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so at the end of the day I asked him to show me how he’d done it. I knew I wanted to give it a go.

I spent about half-an-hour in our studio, laying down six or so tracks (listen to me — using that crazy music lingo!!), and this is what I came up with:

This creation is a really rich one for me. Bear with me, because I’m going get all rambly here now. I have no idea where this post will go.

I. Birthdays

Next week is my birthday. I’ll be 38. My birthday has always been really, really important to me. It’s hard to say why. When I was a kid, my parents would sneak into my room and decorate it with balloons and streamers while I slept the night before my birthday. When I woke up, I felt like the most loved kid in the whole world. (I now do this for my daughter). There was always something magical to me about birthdays.

It’s not just that I think MY birthday is so important. I think everyone’s birthday should be magic.

Over the years, I’ve had some pretty amazing ones. I’ve fallen in love on my birthday, had surprise parties thrown for me, gotten a surprise visit from my mom when I was living in Montana, and had college roomates who threw me a week-long celebration that culminated in a trip to the Bahamas (Well, okay, that was really already planned for spring break, but it FELT like it was for me!!).

Here’s one that stands out more than any other:

I’m 22 years old, 8 months out of college. I’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship. I thought I would die when it ended. I didn’t. I had just started my dream job at a place that is, to this day, one of my favorite places on earth. I was acting for the first time in years; I’d just gotten the part of Laura in a production of Glass Menagerie. Every weekend, I was going to visit one of my best friends and college roommates and having some serious girl-power bonding time.

On my actual birthday, I took the metro home from work and my mom picked me up at the station for a family party. My new co-workers had bought me a potted plant — well, actually, plants. It consisted of miniature daffodils, tupips, and hyacinths. It was unseasonably warm. It felt like spring, even though it was the last day of February. I buried my face in the hyacinth on the way home and just breathed really, really deeply. I was happier than I had been in forever.

To this day, I always try to buy myself a potted hyacinth for my birthday.

And, what this has to do with my birthday is that this song (Sophie B. Hawkins, As I Lay Me Down) is my birthday song. I discovered it the year that my then-fiance was living in Montana and I was back east planning our wedding. I listened to it every night before I went to bed. The very first line, “It felt like springtime on that February morning,” captures completely the way I feel about my birthday.

II. Thursdays

I was born on a Thursday. Thursdays have always been magical days for me. I fall in love on Thursdays. I meet best friends on Thursdays. I go to awesome parties on Thursdays. I dig deep and find my most creative self on Thursdays. When I go to bed on Thursdays I believe that there is a really good chance that when I wake up on Friday something amazing will happen. Sometimes it does. I will probably die on a Thursday, and that will be just fine.

III. Music

I am, and have always been, musically inept. Well, let me say that again. I actually used to be an okay piano player and for a while I could sing music just by sight-reading. That was neat.

What I’m inept about is what’s cool. I don’t know what’s cool when it comes to music. I like show tunes. I like songs that feature strong female vocalists. I like songs with lyrics that tell stories. I have no idea why they are or are not musically worthy. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who sang any song.  I don’t particularly care except when it makes me feel like I’m missing a limb in conversations about music (or trying to figure how to participate meaningfully in an internet radio station).

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song. I don’t think it’s cool that I do. I have a feeling it’s not a particularly cool song to love. Until now, I’ve only told a handful of people that I love it. And I don’t think they realize that when I say I love it? I mean that I will listen to it, on repeat, for a 90 minute drive. Seriously.

So, this? Recording my not-so-stellar singing self, singing a not-so-cool song, and putting it up on the Web for anyone to listen to. THAT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

That’s all I got tonight. Peace.

Posted by on February 22nd, 2012 Comments Off on A Rambling Post about Birthdays, Thursdays, and Music


For some reason I thought I should find an image called "Robot Love" to illustrate this post. Here it is. (Some rights reserved by Aaron Webb on Flickr)

The topic this week in di202 (ably led by Lindsay) was about deception online, particularly with how it relates to digital identity and the formation of relationships online.

Here’s what I find fascinating about this topic: I have a sense that our formation of relationships online is fundamentally different than our formation of relationships IRL because of the vast differences between those two contexts. Okay, after re-reading that, I realize it doesn’t sound like a very bold statement. Let’s see if I can dig deeper. . .

I’ve always thought of the Web as being a performative 1space, by virtue of it being public and valuing public(ation) as a means of sharing and creating identity and self. I’ve written before about what I call the Imperative of Audience — how by providing us with the sense that our ideas and creations can be witnessed by others, the Web pushes us into a mode of performance (and sharing). Once we’re in this mode, I believe it’s human nature to want to explore the boundaries of this new stage.  As a result, you see people experimenting with the presentation of them self in really interesting ways. I think it’s why there is a fascination with Web- and internet-based tools/spaces that give us the opportunity to consider the presentation of our self — virtual worlds (even if you hate them, you know you find them fascinating), use of avatars, sites like Facebook that channel us into answering a series of common questions as a way of painting a picture of who we are.

In meatspace, we rarely build our identity in such overt ways. Instead, who we are is gradually (and gently, even unconsciously) formed through minute experiences and interaction.

And because the Web is so inherently performative, it’s not uncommon for us to build identities for ourselves that are different from who we “really” are. We misrepresent ourselves not necessarily because we are trying to be deceptive but because we are sprung from the physical restrictions and realities that limit us in face-to-face interactions. In many ways, I think this is freeing. I, for one, am a whole lot better at maintaining and nurturing some friendships online than I am in my face-to-face life. I think those friendships are just as meaningful and important — what allows me to do this is the tacit understanding online that what we are doing is a performance, and so we are allowed to become something that might be different than who we’re perceived to be offline.

So, that’s what I find fascinating when I think about lying and deception online. What about you?

  1. This is not actually a word — but it should be

Posted by on February 22nd, 2012 Comments Off on Sprung